From Denmark, with Love: HorrorPops

HorrorPops

Hell Yeah!, Hellcat 2004
Bring It On!, Hellcat 2005
Kiss Kiss Kill Kill, Hellcat 2008

I wrote a review of the Horrorpops release ‘Kiss Kiss Kill Kill’ which came out last February. I said it was an enjoyable record that showed the band’s progression and experimentation with sounds outside their rockabilly origins. The record has aged well in the past months and makes for a nice addition to the everyday play list. Halloween-wise, the HorrorPops have been on the outs with the spooky for a while.

The band is made up of Patricia Day, Kim Nekroman and Niedermeier. Nekroman is the frontman of Nekromantix, one of the bigger psychobilly bands out there. There’s plenty of spooky, on tattooes and in history, so it’s not as if the HorrorPops are SpookyReformed(tm). It’s a case, I think, of not wanting to eat tuna fish every day. Having committed themselves to Spooky enough, the band is willing to branch out, always loyal to their old interests but strong enough to entertain new ones.

What I didn’t mention in the review was that I found out about the Horropops back in 2004 from watching ‘Punk Rock Holocaust,’ bought used during an long afternoon spent at Last Vestige. ‘Punk Rock Holocaust’ is one of those ‘son of Troma’ movies, where young cinematic fanatics, after spending their fledgling periods under the guide of Lloyd Kaufman and co., head out into the unknown, dangerous world of independent cinema. Other films in this category include ‘Killjoy 2,’ ‘Die You Zombie Bastards!’ and the 2002’s ‘Scooby Doo.’

‘Punk Rock Holocaust’ is a nice slasher that introduced me to both the HorrorPops and the Phenomenauts. It also features half of Simple Plan and the Used getting killed off by a masked punk. Lloyd Kaufman has a role in it as Satan. What more could you want?

At first, the HorrorPops didn’t really click with me but over time, and finding both their albums used, I became a reluctant fan. Why should I be hesitant to be a fan of the HorrorPops? I think it’s not just them, but all psychobilly/rockabilly bands. The upright bass is an instrument with presence. It’s hard to form a sound around it. It’s such an all-encompassing instrument, like the steel guitar or the farfisa organ, that it’s quite easy to sound just like any other band while using it. It’s a sound with such a distinct personality that it doesn’t take much for it to override any other aspect of the band.

I remember around 2004/05, the HorrorPops were apologetically ‘not a psychobilly band’ on their website. I think they were prepping their fans who, after becoming enamored by the ‘Hell Yeah’ release, would be in a shock for the deviating themes on ‘Bring It On.’ There was less about zombies, monsters and skulls and more about broken love, getting drunk and the redeeming power of being in a strong friendship. Sure, there was ‘Walk Like a Zombie,’ but I see now that song was more included for it being a do-wop number than a zombie song.

With ‘Kiss Kiss Kill Kill,’ the band progressed far enough away from the rock/psycho campgrounds with songs that were similar to ska, do-wop, 80’s goth-pop (Peter Murphy, Sisters of Mercy, that kind of thing.) There was some rockabilly with the first single, ‘Heading for the Disco,’ but it fit in with the rest of the album as a tribute to the group’s musical influences. In the review, I said it was a display of growth in both music and subject matter, as songs addressed social unrest in the band’s native land of Denmark (“Boot2Boot”) and some of the problems of being a woman in a genre/scene that’s male dominated (“MissFit”).

They’re a popular band – popular meaning that you can probably find their CDs in stores – and I would check them out if they come by.


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